Willis: Howard first Pumas’ baseball player to go D-2

John Howard bounced around the Peak to Peak diamond like a pinball during his high school career, versatile enough to play outfield, third base, more outfield and shortstop.

It wasn’t until this spring that Howard and the Pumas uncovered what could be his natural position: second base. His bat was never an issue, and once Howard settled in on the right side of the diamond, he developed the well-rounded game colleges clamor for.

Following suit, Howard became the Pumas’ first ever Division-II signee late this spring, when he inked to play at Colorado Mines.

“He works hard,” Peak to Peak coach Tim Combs said. “On and off the field he sets the example. He’s one of the leaders on the team and I like his toughness. I wish I had more kids that display the type of toughness that John has.”

Combs termed Howard not only one of the toughest outs on the team, but in the Class 3A Metro League as a whole. In a 10-10 season for Peak to Peak, Howard batted .493 with 23 RBIs. Included were nine doubles and three triples.

Howard still has not reached his ceiling, Combs believes, which is a good thing. He hasn’t yet peaked because he still is learning second base and didn’t play summer ball until last season. That means his skills could continue to ascend at Mines.

“John has played so many sports, and it took him awhile to figure out that baseball was probably his best opportunity,” Combs said. “John’s still learning the game, but he’s learning at a good pace. That’ll be a process that will continue in college, but once he figures out everything there is to know about second base, you need to watch out for him.”

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